In Roseman v. Bloomberg L.P., the Southern District of New York granted a Rule 23 motion for class certification of the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) overtime claims brought by a class of Analytics Representative. See No. 14-CV-2657 (DLC) (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 21, 2017). Analytics Representatives were responsible for assisting users of Bloomberg Terminals, a computer software system which allows clients to access and analyze financial data. They contended that their duties were ministerial in nature and did not meet the requirements for the administrative exemption from overtime under the NYLL.
The Court found all of the requirements under Rule 23(a) and 23(b) met, but devoted particularized attention to the plaintiffs’ ability to establish “predominance” under Rule 23(b)(3). The predominance requirement tests “whether proposed classes are sufficiently cohesive,” and is satisfied if: (i) resolution of any material legal or factual questions can be achieved through generalized proof; and (ii) such common questions are more substantial than the issues subject only to individualized proof.
The Court identified the core question as whether Analytics Representatives were entitled to overtime pay under state law based upon the primary duties they performed. The Court determined that all Analytics Representatives shared the same primary duty of offering technical support regarding the Bloomberg Terminal to Bloomberg’s customers. The Court based its finding on job descriptions, Bloomberg’s system for managing and insuring the quality of employees’ work, and generally similar testimony among the plaintiffs as to their day to day responsibilities.
The Court rejected Bloomberg’s attempts to show variation among the class based upon arguments that the Analytics Representatives “use different techniques in responding to client inquiries, have different levels of expertise…and those techniques and levels of expertise shift over [time].” The Court also discounted evidence indicating that the plaintiffs had “varying amounts of time, discretion and responsibility.” While the Court acknowledged that these did amount to variations, the Court found that they did not change the primary duty: answering client questions about the Bloomberg Terminal. Accordingly, the Court found predominance – and all of the other Rule 23 factors – satisfied and certified the class.